When I was sat on the plane at Heathrow the December before last waiting to take-off one question kept haunting me: “Are you running away?”
I had the next nine months planned out but no return flight booked. My final destination would be Australia but after that? I wasn’t sure.
There were times I let myself get quite upset about the idea that I was running away.
The circumstances weren’t great – my mum had died the year before and my final year at uni had turned into a rather messy one. I wasn’t exactly coping brilliantly with life at this point.
I wanted to get away but I wasn’t trying to escape. I knew that wouldn’t be possible. Everything would be there when I came back, whenever that might be, right where I’d left it.
But there were still the people who made it obvious that that’s all they thought I was trying to do by going travelling. Run.
In fact, my journey towards travelling the world had been a slightly less dramatic one than me simply waking up one day and deciding I couldn’t do this anymore so see y’all whenevs kinda thing.
Ever since I was young I’d loved travel, been excited at the thought of going somewhere new and exotic.
For a while I had seriously considered taking a gap year after my A Levels. I’d signed up to all the right websites and spent hours thumbing through glossy brochures. In the end I came to the conclusion that if I still had the travel bug once I graduated I’d save up and go.
As uni progressed I changed my mind, deciding that instead I wanted to stay in London, find a flat share and break into journalism. It was during my above mentioned messy third year that I realised just how much I wanted to travel. I’d just been pretending that I hadn’t.
A conversation with a friend in the summer of 2014 made all the difference. We realised that we both wanted to go travelling, were both serious about actually going through with it, the timing was right, we had each saved up enough but neither of us were quite convinced about doing it solo.
It was then that travelling for an extended period of time became a very real possibility. What was stopping us?
So we went into our local branch of STA. By the time we came out our bank accounts were a fair bit emptier, all our flights had been booked and we had massive grins on our faces.
We weren’t running, we just weren’t ready to settle down into office jobs and compete with other commuters twice a day. We were leaving to explore new places, meet new people and learn new things about ourselves and the world.